By Keaton Chia, Center Director
December 18, 2017
The Easton Archery Center of Excellence recently hosted two of USA Archery’s Level 4-NTS Coach courses. Participants undergo an intense week of training with a variety of sport experts including USOC trainers, Level 5 coaches and our National Head Coach, KiSik Lee. Concluding with an individual practical exam, it is no small feat to pass the course.
We would like to congratulate all of the new 2017 Level 4 Coaches for their accomplishment and would like to give a special shout-out to our very own Jason Tong for earning his Level 4 as well!
Jason has contributed a lot to our sport especially for college programs. In addition to a successful career in collegiate archery, finishing as the 2017 Recurve Mixed Team National Champion and West Region Collegiate Coach of the Year, he was Vice President, Team Captain and President of the UCSD team as well as the Collegiate Athlete Rep and and will be the West Region Collegiate Rep for USA Archery. After graduating from UCSD this year with a degree in biochemistry and cell biology, he joined us here at the center as part of our operations team to continue giving back to the sport.
Tell us about how you got into archery.
I got into the sport as a freshman at UCSD. The club, Sun God Archery at UCSD, offers beginner workshops and it is there that I met coach Nick Kale and the rest of the Sun God Archery team. I had a great time and from there I was hooked!
What’s been the most rewarding part of archery for you?
Winning with my team has been some of my best experiences not just in archery, but in my whole college experience. It is very exciting to shoot mixed team and team round events because you are shooting with teammates and you have the rest of your team cheering you on. It is more meaningful for me that my success is not just my own, but is shared by the whole team.
Why did you get into coaching?
When I became the VP of the club, I had the opportunity to serve the club in multiple capacities. In a leadership role, being a coach empowers me to give back and support my team, and as an athlete, I learn more about technique which improves my own performance at competitions. As I began to coach more, I really started enjoying the process of learning how to work with athletes to help them meet their goals and fulfill their potential.
What has made you a better coach?
I learn a lot as a coach when I encounter a student who is struggling, especially with something that I’ve never seen or experienced myself. The process of figuring it out with them teaches you a lot of valuable lessons that don’t come from a textbook.
What were some highlights of the L4 course?
It was really great to meet new coaches from across the country. I enjoyed learning from other sport experts such as Kevin Pierce and his presentation on sports medicine and re-hab/pre-hab practices to prevent injuries, and John Crawley on process improvement on teaching. It was also very beneficial to have the chance to work with Coach Lee and to go over the finer details of NTS with him.
What is your advice for future L4 candidates?
Learn NTS as an athlete first. Athlete development must come before coach development. I am a far more effective coach when I can draw from my own personal experience shooting and then when students are facing problems that I have not seen before, then I can also pull from my own learning process to discover solutions versus just reciting knowledge from a book. That will not only help you pass the Level 4 exam, but also make you a far more effective coach that is better able to help all of your athletes meet their goals and fulfill their potential.